King rallies to win District 5

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

At the end of Primary Day in Butler County, low voter turnout was evident as vote tallies rang out at the Butler County Courthouse Annex.

A total of 4,338 ballots were cast out of more than 14,000 registered voters.

There were 3,863 ballots cast in the Democratic Primary and 461 votes cast in the Republican Primary.

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In the heated race to be the district attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, incumbent John Andrews defeated challenger Charlotte Tesmer 1,947 to 1,783 in Butler County.

At press time, with two boxes remaining to be counting in Lowndes County. Andrews led Tesmer with 6,188 votes to 5,009 votes.

Tesmer said after the tally was read she was pleased with the campaign.

&uot;I ran the best campaign that I could run,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’m very proud of the people who have worked so hard for me on this campaign.

I was told that I didn’t have a chance, but I think my supporters and I proved them wrong.

I’m just really pleased and thankful for all those who supported me.&uot;

When asked if she would run again one day, she smiled and said, &uot;Never say never!&uot;

In the race for the Butler County Commission District One Seat, Margaret Pierce and incumbent Gary Hanks will face each other in a run-off.

Hanks led the night with 304 votes to Pierce’s 267 votes and Charles DeShields’ 225 votes.

Pierce said she would not stop working now that she and Hanks will face each other in a run-off.

&uot;I’ve traveled every road in District One during my campaign and I’ve knocked on just about every door, but between now and June 29 I will do the same thing all over,&uot; she said. &uot;My opponents have run a splendid campaign and I look forward to facing Mr. Hanks in the runoff.&uot;

Hanks praised his opponent.

&uot;I give her credit because she ran a good campaign,&uot; he said.

&uot;It’s down to business now. She ran a good campaign and now it is down to the race.&uot;

In the District Two race, incumbent Jesse McWilliams defeated former Commissioner Leroy Johnson Sr. 604 votes to 280.

McWilliams was overcome about the support he received.

&uot;I want to thank everyone who worked on my behalf,&uot; he said. &uot;Words can’t express what type of feeling I have. I look forward to serving four more years on the commission.&uot;

In the most watched race of the day, appointed incumbent Frank Hickman narrowly scraped by challengers Gene Gibson and former Commissioner Vernon S. Herring.

Hickman carried the night with 384 votes to Gibson’s 293 votes and Herring’s 213 votes.

Frank Hickman expressed thanks for the opportunity to be part of the run-off through the support he received.

&uot;I am honored and grateful for the support I have received in District Three and I look forward to the opportunity to see the residents of District Three,&uot; he said. &uot;I want to congratulate my opponents for their great effort during this election. I hope to be able to see everyone before the runoff election. I hope to keep my experience working for Butler County.&uot;

Hickman’s opponent in the run-off, Gibson, said it’s time to start anew.

&uot;It’s time to start over again,&uot; he said. &uot;I have to start walking the streets.

I have to get around the city as well as the county. There was a low turnout so I hope that the turnout will be better next time.

Its just time to get back out there walking the streets.&uot;

Commissioner Daniel Robinson faced no opposition.

In the District Five race, McKenzie businessman Glenn King in his first bid for public office performed the biggest upset of the night when he defeated incumbent Commissioner William Phillips 391 votes to 314 votes.

&uot;I was glad to have shown as well as I did in Georgiana,&uot; he said.

&uot;The town of McKenzie really turned out. I appreciate all of the people in District Five putting their trust in me. I’m looking forward to getting started. I’m looking forward to getting in the seat and seeing what we can do.&uot;

Phillips left before he could be asked for comment.

In the special election to decide whether to consolidate the tax assessor and tax collector offices, voters chose to combine the offices with a vote of 2,317 yes votes to 1,161 no votes.

The change will take effect at the end of the current terms in 2009.

For many Butler Countians, the only races they cared about were for district attorney, county commission and whether the county should consolidate the tax collector and tax assessor offices.

Yes, there were names on the ballot such as John Kerry and George W. Bush, but most voters realized that their vote meant little on who would be in the race for the nation’s White House in November.

Tuesday’s Primary for both the Democratic and Republican ticket did little more than add to the delegates for Kerry and Bush respectively.

In the Democratic primary, voters could chose between Kerry, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche and uncommitted.

As the usual case, Alabama’s primary is one of the last three scheduled, with Montana and New Jersey to follow.

There was a recent push to move Alabama’s primary to an earlier date in the year.

On Tuesday, Jeff Emerson, Gov. Bob Riley’s communications director said it is a matter of finances when the primary will be held.

&uot;Governor Riley certainly wants Alabamians to have as great a voice as possible in the presidential election,&uot; Emerson said. &uot;Moving the presidential primary election forward would, however, cost the state several million dollars unless both the federal and state primaries were moved forward to the same date.

Recent legislative proposals would have moved only the date of the Presidential primary.

At this time, it’s not economically feasible.

If Alabama is in a better fiscal condition in 2008, this is an idea that should be considered.&uot;

In the race for the presidential nominations in Butler County, Kerry had 1,790 votes to Kucinich’s 125 votes and LaRouche’s 145 votes.